Don’t Let Sago Palms Poison Your Cat

Your Siamese cat Sasha is the most intensely curious cat you’ve ever met. While Sasha has several vantage points from which she can ogle the birds, Sasha spends much of her time trying to get outside. When you let your dog Toby out, Sasha sometimes slips through the door to explore your backyard. While this sounds harmless, Sasha explores new objects by chewing on them. You’re afraid she’s going to start gnawing on your backyard’s sago palms, which can leave her with serious liver damage and could even kill her. If you see Sasha nibbling on a sago palm leaf, drop everything and get her to your Dunedin veterinarian for lifesaving treatment.

Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning

After chomping on a sago palm, Sasha will likely vomit, become extremely thirsty, and urinate a lot. She can also develop bloody diarrhea, and her skin and gums can display a yellowish tint. Sasha can bleed or bruise more easily, too. Even worse, Sasha’s neurological system damage can cause her to begin circling, have seizures, or become paralyzed. In the worst-case scenario, Sasha can lapse into a coma and can even die.

Source of These Alarming Symptoms

Sasha’s symptoms stem from liver damage caused by cycasin, a dangerous toxin that exists in sago palm leaves. As a result, Sasha can experience unusual bleeding and nervous system abnormalities.

Speedy Diagnostic Process

Your observations are your vet’s best diagnostic tool. Once your vet learns that Sasha has chewed on sago palm leaves, he’ll perform urine and blood tests that likely confirm his initial suspicion: Sasha has contracted liver disease.

Varied Treatment Protocols

Hopefully, you’ve gotten Sasha to the vet before she shows any poisoning symptoms. If so, your vet might cause Sasha to vomit using ipecac or hydrogen peroxide. He might also give Sasha activated charcoal, designed to absorb the poison in her stomach; or he will pump Sasha’s stomach to hopefully get the toxic contents out. If Sasha does have liver disease, your vet will likely give her plasma or blood transfusions and fluid therapy. Now, controlling Sasha’s vomiting is important; and your vet might also give her antibiotics and/or other medications.

While your Dunedin vet will do everything he can to help Sasha recover, removing the sago palms from your yard will keep Sasha from finding these toxic plants.

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